Taking care of our furry friends is so important as a dog owner, and one of the biggest parts of this next to their physical health and their diet, is keeping them well groomed. Regular grooming for dogs, no matter their breed, helps to keep their coats healthy, as well as improve their hygiene, reducing the chances of them developing certain diseases. We’ve listed some of our top tips so you can keep your dog in the best condition.
Regular Coat Grooming
Brushing your dogs coat is a great way to maintain a healthy, glossy look. While it does depend on the length of their hair, all dogs can benefit from brushing, excusing hairless dogs of course. Longer haired breeds can require more intensive brushing for much longer due to their hair being more susceptible to matting which can cause tension and pain as it starts to constrict and pull. Longer hair can also gather up things like sticky seeds which can cause serious skin problems as they get drawn closer to their skin. After every walk, you should check your dog for any of these foreign bodies to make sure there aren’t any that could get tangled up in their fur.
Trimming Their Coat
The chances are, especially for dogs with longer hair, you’ll need to trim their fur at some point. Hair that has grown too long and obscures your dog’s vision can be unsafe as their perception is diminished. This hair can also irritate and harm their eyes too, so keep these areas clear. If you’re going to be trimming your own pooch, make sure they’re relaxed and not excitable, so that you don’t accidentally hurt them while trying to cut their fur with scissors. To reduce the risk of injury, it’s worthwhile getting a trained groomer or vet to handle this process, especially when cutting hair in sensitive areas.
Many dogs don’t need their claws trimming, especially if they’re particularly active around hard surfaces like as the sidewalk. The rough floor will help to sand down their claws. However, if you think their claws are getting too long, you can get specialist nail clippers for dogs. It can be a nerve-wracking time doing this, especially as a beginner so it can be worthwhile asking your vet or a professional groomer for tips on doing this yourself to avoid hurting your dog by cutting too short. There are also lots of online guides for doing this, and once you’ve had some experience, you’ll be able to handle this with very little anxiety.
We’re told from a young age that we should be brushing our teeth at least twice a day, so why should dental care be any less important for our canine’s canines? Brushing your dog’s teeth with specialized dog toothpaste and brushes can help in preventing cavities and tooth loss, just like in humans. You’ll also be well aware that dogs get pretty bad breath. This isn’t entirely due to their diet and is more a result of the bacteria that reside in their mouths which isn’t eradicated by regular brushing. Dogs often experience build-ups of tartar which can cause inflammation in their gums and lead to gum disease like gingivitis. Follow this guide to brushing dogs teeth from Native Pet for more advice on how to effectively take care of their dental health.
Identify Any Skin Conditions
Many dogs develop allergic skin conditions which can cause discomfort and pain from uncontrollable scratching. When you’re grooming your dog, especially with a brush, you may notice sensitive areas that your dog reacts to when touched. First, be gentle when brushing these areas to avoid breaking skin and take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to provide you with ointments and medicines for your dog to reduce symptoms and the risk of them exacerbating the problem. As well as skin conditions, you will also be able to spot parasites on your pet when brushing them. Fleas and ticks are common, especially if you walk your dog through the wilderness like forests and fields or if they regularly come into contact with other animals. Be vigilant when searching for these pests, but don’t freak out when you find them as they can be eradicated fairly easily with the help of your vet.
Encourage Positive Behavior
Grooming isn’t always a fun experience for dog owners or dogs, and the panic that some dogs experience can make the task incredibly difficult. Bathing a dog that hates baths, for example, can cause untold damage to your home, with water flying everywhere, and can also result in you and your dog getting hurt during frantic escapes. From a young age, it’s essential to get your dogs used to grooming sessions, and this can be done with positive reinforcement through the use of treats.
Clean Their Ears
It’s a very important task to keep your dogs ears clean as ear infections are prevalent among our four-legged friends. Due to the size of their ears, it’s easy for foreign bodies to get into them and sometimes stuck which can lead to a whole heap of complications. That’s why it’s worth giving them a check during your grooming sessions to make sure there isn’t anything in there that could cause a problem. Build-ups of earwax and signs of inflammation can also be a slight cause for concern and it’s worth speaking to your vet in case they require ear medication to eradicate any problems. It’s also important to try to listen to what your dog is telling you about their ears. If you see them scratching their ears often, and shaking or tilting their heads, they may be irritated by something and it’s worth having a look.
Use Strict Bathing Techniques
When giving your dog a bath, it’s important that they have a level of discipline to avoid both you and them getting injured in bath-related panics. Some dog owners use tricks like putting peanut butter on the side of the bath to distract their dogs while they wash them, so try to find a good solution for you. This is why it’s worth bathing your dogs early on in their life so that they get used to the situation. Remain calm and keep them as reassured as possible so that there are no frantic struggles.